Friday 19 January 2018

Meet the Cake Chick who's rising fast

Do not confuse Mary Scott with a typical dolly bird with a rugby pro boyfriend, warns Joyce Fegan

mary Scott has all the credentials of your typical D4 golden girl -- a Kate Middleton mane of effortlessly groomed hair, a career in broadcasting and a professional rugby-playing boyfriend.

But first appearances can be deceiving. This 24-year-old Meath native is changing it up and going out on her own. She's started her own bespoke cake business. Meet the Cake Chick.

The day I meet her, she's just finished up with 98FM and is humming and hawing about whether to make a celebratory cake for Leinster's Magner's League final for the coming Sunday. The boyfriend is 6ft 10in Leinster lock Devin Toner. He doesn't want her to make the cake in case it jinxes the game. Unfortunately Leinster didn't do the double, but it had nothing to do with Mary. She's busy making her own cakes. She voices the usual concern of the self- employed: "How will I pay my rent?" No bother to this up-starter, because when she calls a few days later to firm up on some facts, she explains she's just landed a huge order for when she returns from her holiday in America with Devin.

"I just got an order from a PR company for 1,500 cupcakes." July's rent is covered.

Mary is the kind of girl you'd look at and assume that the ball always bounces in her favour, that her upbeat nature won her great rewards without any effort exhausted. Never judge a book by its cover. Mary took a four-year business degree and stuck at it, even though she had wanted to get straight into the culinary arts.

"My parents were like, 'Go and get a basic degree and at the end of the day if you're still interested in food then go and do it'." Mary worked part-time in promotions throughout college and when the four years came to a close, her dreams of a culinary career had not.

She put the summer in with 98FM and went down to Ballymaloe that September.

"My Dad said to me, 'This is your inheritance, I hope you've spent it wisely'." Back home after Ballymaloe, she got work experience in the Michelin-star restaurant Chapter One.

"I went in for a week and I literally just kept coming back and they were like 'Oh, you're back again'." She sings their praises and explained that the busy kitchen welcomed her with open arms and showed her "everything".

During her voluntary stint in one of the capital's top restaurants, she entered TV3's Head Chef competition. It's something she describes as "incredibly nerve-racking but a total baptism of fire". After three months of intense filming, Mary came as runner-up. That's pretty impressive for a 22-year-old who had just three months of training at the time. Between Ballymaloe, Chapter One and the Head Chef programme, desserts emerged as her forte.

During our chat, she takes out her phone and shows me pictures of some her cakes. She has her signature 'rose cupcake', which is delicately piped butter icing in the shape of the swirling petals of a rose. The result is pretty cool.

"I want it to be my signature thing -- the rose." She goes through other pictures and one cake in particular is like something you'd see on a cake wars show on some big American food channel.

It's this life-size guitar she was commissioned to make by someone in MCD. While working for 98FM as a reporter, Scott was doing "12, 13 and 14-hour days. I'd get up really early, do my day's work with the radio, come home and start on the cakes."

When she finally decided to make a leap of faith and concentrate on the cooking full-time, fate stepped in. "The very day I handed in my notice in the radio station, I got this call from a guy in the UK."

Mary Scott is now in talks with a major television station for a culinary programme.

This isn't the only time fate has stepped into the brunette's life. Up until February of this year, Mary had been making cupcakes and baking cakes for friends or family and through word-of-mouth generated business. However, when the organisers of the Leinster Rugby Ladies' Night asked her to make some cupcakes and give a demonstration, things changed.

"That was the catalyst. They asked me to do a demonstration and I was delighted. It meant I had to get my website up and running. So I guess that was when I launched as a business." Leinster has been good to Mary. She says the sense of comradeship between the players' partners is "the best thing about it".

Mary and Devin met long before his rugby star ascended; they're now together over five years and living together for nearly two. He's really into cooking, too, as is his family, and his sister runs a food blog.

"We love nothing more than sitting in together in the evening and cooking; we like eating out, too."

The holiday they're about to head off on will incorporate their top three loves: food, fitness and family. They were heading to Chicago cycling and take in all the good-food spots and then head up to Toronto to see family.

We finish with her saying she "loves life", and after an hour with the sprightly Scott, you realise her energy is of the infectious kind, infectious good.

www.cakechick.ie

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